Joining HMAS Newcastle for her return voyage to Australia from the Middle East Area of Operations were Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) Sub-Lieutenants, Zaid Nasser Rashid Al Kharusi and Abdul Rahim Mohammed Khamis Al Rasbi.
The two Sub-Lieutenants who joined the RNO three years ago were hand selected amongst their colleagues to take up the rare opportunity to ‘cross deck’ onto the Adelaide Class Frigate as she departed the Gulf of Oman, heading for home following her six month deployment.
Both bridge officers integrated into Newcastle bridge team with ease, having recently completed one year of navigation and warfare study with the Royal Navy at the Dartmouth Naval Academy.
While onboard they participated in Newcastle conducting a Replenishment at Sea (Liquids) with USNS Arctic, main machinery damage control exercises, flying operations, gunnery serials and a visit to Diego Garcia and its PX store.
Most importantly, both officers for the first time in their Naval careers sailed south of the equator.
“It is the first time that I have crossed the equator. Many people in the Royal Navy of Oman never get the chance to do it,” said SBLT Al Rasbi.
Crossing the equator was second only to the Newcastle talent quest with both enjoying a whole hearted laugh with the rest of the ship’s company to what was a fantastic night.
After sailing 4600 nautical miles across the expanse of the Indian Ocean, both officers said they enjoyed their time in Newcastle and were grateful to have been given the opportunity to sail with the Royal Australian Navy.
The Omani officers disembarked in Fleet Base West, where they toured multiple facilities including the Submarine Escape and Rescue Centre (SERC) as well as the Anzac Class Frigate HMAS Toowoomba.
With the RNO operating a fleet of surface fleet ships, the ability for the Oman officers to tour SERC and receive briefs on the Collins Class Submarine and extensive training involved in becoming a submariner was certainly a highlight of their exchange.
“We are very thankful for the opportunity the RAN has given us,” said Sub-Lieutenant Al Kharusi.
“We have learnt a lot during our exchange and it has been nice to create lasting friendships and build a network with Australian Navy members” he said.
“Our guests were a delight to have onboard and really got involved in everything.”
“Personal engagement opportunities such as this genuinely aid in strengthening bonds between navies,” said Newcastle’s Commanding Officer, CMDR Paul O’Grady.
“They provide an invaluable experience for both the exchange members and the host Navy,” he said.
Sub-Lieutenants, Al Kharusi and Al Rasbi returned to Oman following a brief stay in Perth.
Newcastle has just completed her deployment to the Middle East as part of Operation SLIPPER, the Australian Defence Force contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, smuggling and piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and for enhancing regional maritime security and engagement. HMAS Newcastle will soon return home to Fleet Base East.
Imagery is available on the Royal Australian Navy Media Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20131649.